Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Letters To The Editor

North Pinellas letters: Safety Harbor happy to have Matt Spoor back

Professional group censures Safety Harbor city manager for ethics violations | story, April 2

City glad to have Spoor back in job

It was reported that a membership organization called the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) censured Safety Harbor's city manager, Matt Spoor, for leaving a job he took with St. Petersburg after only six weeks there and for interfering in Safety Harbor's attempt to recruit a replacement.

While I respect the fact the ICMA felt the need to do what it did, I'm here to say that as long as I've known and worked with Mr. Spoor, he has done nothing but act in the most professional, dedicated and ethical manner.

When Mr. Spoor was hired by St. Petersburg, it was made clear to him that they were looking for someone who was committed to be with them for a period to greatly exceed two years.

I strongly believe that as soon as Mr. Spoor knew without a doubt that he was not the right person for the job, he had a professional obligation to notify his employer so he could give St. Petersburg the courtesy of finding the right person to fill that position. To have stayed for two years and then moved on to comply with the ICMA's standard would have left St. Petersburg in the difficult situation of having to start over from scratch and to retrain someone else, which would have cost them much more time and money in the long term.

That Mr. Spoor contacted two of the (Safety Harbor) city manager finalists as they were going through the interview process was, in my opinion, a professional courtesy he owed them so they knew his intentions ahead of time.

In summary, the ICMA wanted Mr. Spoor to stay in a job he didn't want. The fact that when the city was presented with the opportunity to get him back, the City Commission chamber was full of supportive citizens, the vote was unanimous and the commission's decision was greeted with a standing ovation speaks volumes more than a report by an organization located in a different state written by someone who has never met him or worked with him.

So on behalf of the entire city, I'd like to say we are all glad to have him here working hard to make Safety Harbor a better place!

Joe Ayoub, Safety Harbor mayor

Professional group censures Safety Harbor city manager for ethics violations | story, April 2

Hed hed

Leave it to a trade group to take a story about a local government official returning to the city he loves to serve and try to turn it into a negative.

When I saw the headline, I immediately asked myself, who is the ICMA and how do they operate? What an education I got!

Without talking to a single city official, the International City/County Management Association receives a complaint, "investigates" it, reaches a decision and sends out a press release announcing its findings. After this is done, it then allows the affected party to appeal.

Wait, no chance to defend yourself or face your accuser or refute the facts? Oh, and they expect you to stay in a job you don't want!

This isn't a trade group, this is a group of bureaucrat bobble heads presiding over an unaccountable kangaroo kabuki court where a person has no chance to defend themselves until after they are sanctioned. No thank you. This ICMA press release and their methods are unworthy of serious discussion.

City Manager Matt Spoor, I know I speak for many Safety Harbor residents when I say we are glad you are back in our city.

Neil Brickfield, Safety Harbor

Hed hed

Recently, I have been seeing that there has been a lot of attention surrounding the legislative proposal pertaining to the Florida High School Athletics Association (FHSAA).

What surprises me the most though, is that there are many people that think this is the first time that the FHSAA has been brought up in the legislative process. Just last year, there were changes made that the FHSAA needed to follow but did not, with complaints coming not only from students but from parents as well. It is no wonder this issue has come back into the light.

There have been multiple accounts in which the FHSAA has been abusing their powers and harassing students while attempting to conduct investigations.

Student rights need to be at the forefront of this issue, not whether or not the FHSAA is being compromised. We need to revert the attention to the students who are the victims of an abusive organization that clearly has no respect for a student's life, home or privacy.

Misty Oudshoff, Clearwater

Pinellas to allow doggy dining | story, April 10

Hed hed

The photo attached to Anna Phillips' story regarding the unanimous vote by the Pinellas County Commission says it all. The dog is sitting in its owner's lap with its feet on the table.

I see this all the time at restaurants in downtown St. Petersburg where these dogs dine. Waiters, eager for a tip to augment their lousy wages, are not going to say anything to the owner. The underpaid have no incentive to tell the idiot with the dog drooling on the table to take their doggy elsewhere.

Martin L. Daugherty, St. Petersburg


Wednesday’s letters: A princess gives us a lesson to live by

Royal treatment | May 21Princess offers advice for us allThe radiant and joyful Princess Anna Noela Lokolo of the Democratic Republic of Congo, recent Eckerd College graduate, has given us a huge gift in her parting words. "If people have a negat...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Hernando Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Central High School bomb threat suspect to be tried as adult | May 4Angry mob rhetoric not helpfulWe have observed the public discourse surrounding the case of Mizella Robinson with increasing unease. A sampling of the more common sentiment...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Proposed TECO Solar Plant Opposed to the TECO solar plantAs a 21-year resident and property owner, I am writing in opposition to the proposed Tampa Electric Company solar plant in rural northeast Pasco County.The solar plant will be .2 miles from...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Tuesday’s letters: If you don’t like the Electoral College, then amend the Constitution

The popular vote | May 20, letterIf you don’t like it, amend ConstitutionA recent letter supports the idea that a state should be able to change its Electoral College vote to match that of the national popular vote winner as opposed to the result...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Monday’s letters: Focusing on the mental state of shooters misses the point

Texas high school shooting | May 18Criminals, angry people kill peopleSchool shootings are a distinctly American phenomenon. But shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1 percent of all yearly gun-related homicides in ...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/21/18

Friday’s letters: Putnam and Publix, two P’s lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17A pleasure to shop elsewhereMy family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye.Firs...
Published: 05/18/18

Saturday’s letters: For Florida to move forward, focus on a healthy and sustainable environment

Tampa’s future is bright | May 12Protect Florida, boost economyThis past year, Florida set another record-breaking year for tourism, welcoming more than 116 million visitors. While Florida boasts a unique quality of life and more than 1,300 miles...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Sunday’s letters: What conservatives stand for

How can conservatism survive after Trump | May 13, Nickens columnhed#6324 I think it obvious that traditional conservatism was squeezed out of the 2016 campaign narrative and has become a niche thesis owned by a small group of intellectuals. A gr...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Friday's letters: Putnam and Publix, two P's lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17 A pleasure to shop elsewhere My family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye. F...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 18

Re: Pasco panel okays Tampa Electric solar farm after five-hour meeting | April 9 storySolar farm offers many positivesThere has been much publicity regarding the proposed TECO Mountain View solar project slated for 350 acres in East Pasco that was r...
Published: 05/14/18